A Pocket Full of Quarters: Using Coin Operated Machines in Moderation

arcade games

“I got a pocket full of quarters, and I’m headed to the arcade,” sang Buckner & Garcia in the song “Pac-Man Fever.” Though I grew up when kids across the country were coming down with Pac-Man Fever, I was rarely allowed to step foot in an arcade. My parents didn’t have anything against video games – in fact, my father spent more time playing Pac-Man on our Atari than I did – but they objected to the practice of wasting quarters on coin-operated machines.

Today, machines are still gobbling up quarters – sometimes four or more at a time – faster than Pac-Man can eat those pac-dots. As a parent myself, I’m not quite as


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2 Responses to A Pocket Full of Quarters: Using Coin Operated Machines in Moderation

  1. disneysteve says:

    I’m one of those who grew up in the arcade era, standing on milk crates to reach the pinball machines and progressing to the early video games and following their evolution, so I’ve put many a quarter in those machines.

    I don’t think arcades are nearly as big a draw as they were then thanks to GameBoys and PS2s and such, but I’ve still made sure to expose my daughter to them. We go to the Jersey shore town of Seaside Heights regularly, but more often play the games that reward tickets or tokens that you can save up and redeem for prizes. We’ve gotten all kinds of things from boxes of candy to stuffed animals to telephones, dishes and pots and pans.

  2. Katy says:

    I am terrible at this – I never put a cent in those things.
    In fact, my kids don’t even know that the rides outside shops ‘turn on’. They think they are just fun to sit in – its great for their imagination! 😉
    (Ths fun may be over with my youngest – he spotted a little boy on his favourite ride recently *and it was moving*. I’m denying all knowledge, but I think he may suspect what the ‘letter box’ on the side (with the slot for letters ;)) is really for :(

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